There's nothing like opening the football season ... and not being able to finish the game you started.
It almost came to that on Thursday night for the Fairview Knights as they hosted Horizon at Recht Field, with a lightning delay of more than an hour putting the contest's finish into question.
But once the crowd settled back into the stands and the teams got warmed up again, Fairview lit up the skies in a different way early only to have to hold on to secure a 38-24 non-league win — an affair mirroring the close games the two teams have had the past couple meetings.
Jake Willemsen, in his debut as the starting quarterback, threw for two early touchdown passes, ran for another and then hit Tommy Wakefield for a 39-yard touchdown toss on the last play of the first half, and the Knights kept the lead the rest of the way with Boulder in their sights a week from Friday.
Coming off 2015 campaigns of 7-3 for Fairview and 8-3 for Horizon, all the possibilities of a competitive game existed. For the most part, it failed on that end as Horizon had two early fumbles and another turnover on downs deep in Fairview territory in the first half.
With the defense helping to set up the offense, Fairview made it 7-0 with 7 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the first quarter on a 22-yard Willemsen pass to David McWilliams. The lightning delay came right after Horizon received the ensuing kick and ran four plays, fumbling inside its own territory.
Nine plays — and an hour later — McWilliams made it 14-0 with a TD catch in the back corner of the end zone.
Horizon's next drive resulted in yet another turnover in its own territory, and a pair of 16-yard receptions from McWilliams and Quinn Sharp helped set up a 1-yard Willemsen run.
Even when the Knights took a 28-7 lead just before halftime — Willemsen went 5-for-5 for 80 yards and connected with Wakefield on an improbable TD to send the teams to the locker room — Horizon managed to rally behind running back Cade Verkler.
The senior captain for Horizon racked up 218 yards on the ground and scored a pair of touchdowns. The Hawks got to within 31-24 early in the fourth quarter, but Fairview locked down the win with a time-consuming drive capped with a Sharp TD run.
Willemsen finished with 357 yards passing to his senior group of four receivers. Sharp led the team with 143 receiving yards.
Fairview 38, Horizon 24
At Christian Recht FieldHorizon 0 7 10 7 — 21 Fairview 14 14 0 10 — 38
Fairview — David McWilliams 22 pass from Jake Willemsen (Tevye S.-Rohls kick). Fairview — McWilliams 4 pass from Willemsen (S.-Rohls kick).
Fairview — Willemsen 1 run (S.-Rohls kick). Horizon — Cade Verkler 6 run (Halle Underwood kick good). Fairview — Tommy Wakefield 39 pass from Willemsen (S.-Rohls kick).
Horizon — Verkler 80 run (Underwood kick). Horizon — Underwood 25 field goal.
Fairview — S.-Rohls 34 field goal. Horizon — Amado Capetillo 1 run (Underwood kick). Fairview — Quinn Sharp 4 run (S.-Rohls kick).